Back in May, I paid a visit to Cowboys and Angels salon in Dublin city centre. I walked in with short hair, and I walked out after four hours with more hair than I've ever had in my life, thanks to Great Lengths hair extensions. You can see the original review here.
I've never - in my adult life - had long hair, so it was certainly a new experience. I'm not well informed about styling or caring for hair, just because it has never been my thing. Suddenly I had an enormous mop of Disneyesque hair to maintain, and I was a little paranoid that I would bugger it up somehow.
I needn't have worried. Great Lengths extensions are the highest quality you can get. They do have aftercare instructions, but they are much less prohibitive than with some brands of extensions.
Because the extensions are bonded to your own hair with a keratin bond, you cannot use your normal hair brush. Great Lengths provide a range of brushes with a combination of natural and plastic fibres which brush your hair from root to tip without pulling on the bonds or tearing them.
With other brands of extensions, you generally have to stay the hell away from the bond at all times, but that's not the case with these. I was a bit shocked by the flathúlach way that Valerie - the stylist - brushed my hair (like it was my own) firmly, and right from the root, but she assured me that if you use the right tools, the extensions can be treated like your own hair.
You can use whichever shampoos, conditioners and styling products you'd like. Great Lengths do have a range of haircare, but you don't have to use it if you don't want. The only caveat is to avoid putting conditioner right to the roots, as the bonds could slip if you do this for months and months. And most of us don't put conditioner in the roots of our hair anyway.
You can also use any heated styling tools. Because the hair is real, it can handle whatever your hair can handle!
At the three month mark, I decided to have the extensions removed. I didn't have them out because they were damaging my hair, or because they were faulty in any way - I would have got another minimum of two months out of them. Honestly, I just didn't really feel like myself with them; it's purely a personal taste thing. The extensions 'aged' well. They thinned a little. I lost individual hairs when brushing just as I would with my own hair, but I did not lose a single bond in thirteen weeks, washing the hair every second day. That's damn good going.
I didn't like feeling the bonds when I put my hands in my hair. Every time I tied it up , washed it or scratched my head, I could feel them in there. Also, they tangle. This is just a natural occurrence with extensions. It isn't a problem - when my extensions were removed, the few tangles I had were easily unpicked and I didn't have any broken hair or split ends.
When I went in to have the extensions removed, the process was pretty simple. A drop of alcohol solution was added to each bond. The bond was removed and the extension slid down the length of the hair until it was out. This was repeated with every individual bond, then the remaining glue was simply combed out.
Any fears I'd had for my own hair disappeared as soon as the extensions were out. It's now a little longer and in great condition, if looking a little less impressive and enormous than it did a week ago!
Overall, the experience was really positive. I got to have an adventure, and none of my hairs were hurt in the process. If you have the cash and the will to invest in some hair extensions, I couldn't recommend Great Lengths more highly!
Are you a fan of hair extensions? Have you tired Great Lengths? And don't we all want a Disneyesque mop of hair now and again? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!